This whole baked Tandoori Cauliflower is a unique vegetarian main course that also doubles up as an appetizer you can serve your guests. The cauliflower is marinated in a spicy and delicious Tandoori Masala and baked with veggies till it gets a beautiful golden color. We’ll tell you the secret to getting those smoky Tandoori flavours at home!
Some of our favourite go-to vegetarian appetizers are Aloo Paneer Tikkis and Soya Hara Bhara Kabab. But every once in a while, I feel like making something unique and different. Something that’ll make everyone at the table curious and super interested in what I’ve served. By now you probably know about my love for cauliflowers - Check out my 21 Healthy Cauliflower Recipes! So I started experimenting and I present to you - Whole Baked Tandoori Cauliflower!
This Tandoori Gobi looks like a king sitting on a throne, surrounded by humble subjects and all! It’s a gorgeous way to present a boring vegetable when you have guests over, not to mention that it actually tastes AMAZING. We’re all suckers for Tandoori dishes. The Tandoori masala marinade gives the bland cauliflower such a robust taste. And we’ve spared no effort to get those smoky, charred flavours of Tandoor right here at home. Homemade Tandoori dishes are not at all as intimidating as they sound!
Also try these Homemade Tandoori Dishes:
It looks like a king sitting on a throne. Surrounded by humble subjects and all! No I'm not getting poetic about cauliflower, or maybe a little. But it deserves all the love you can show it. Plus it tastes amazing rolled into one of my instant naan. Tandoori Cauliflower Naan Tacos anyone?
It's marinated in the most amazing uncomplicated tandoori masala and then roasted with all the veggies till it becomes golden and charred from top and still says juicy when you bite into it.
I feel like I'm describing a tender, juicy whole chicken, but this really does give me the same feeling! If you love Tandoori dishes, try these too!
How To Prep The Cauliflower
The ‘wow’ factor of this dish is when you present one big whole baked cauliflower, golden brown in colour, just waiting to be "carved". So for this recipe, we are not going to decimate the gobi like we generally do for Aloo Gobi lol. You just need to cut off the stem and the stem leaves (as shown in the video). Reverse the cauliflower so that it sits stem-side up on the counter, and then use a sharp knife to slowly cut off the stems and leaves from around the cauliflower and the base. The stems are very hardy and you can use them to make curries or stock, but we are removing them for this dish because they won't cook as fast as the florets. For this recipe, we have first blanched the whole cauliflower in water and salt. Blanch for about 5 minutes so that the cauliflower is cooked half-way through. Sometimes cauliflowers might have worms and dirt stuck in the crevices, and blanching the cauliflower will take care of all of that. The rest of the cooking process will take place when we bake it in the oven.
Tandoori Masala Marinade
This is by far the most uncomplicated Tandoori masala there is. Marinate the gobi in this masala, and OMG - such a transformation! The base of the masala is hung curd and oil. These act as tenderisers and make each bite juicy. The ingredients that really pack in the flavours are ginger-garlic paste, red chilli powder and Kashmiri chilli powder, Chaat Masala, Garam Masala, and coriander powder. We’ve also separately dry-roasted Kasuri methi and gently crushed it straight into the masala. As you can see, this masala will tantalize your taste buds! Whisk these ingredients together to make the Tandoori masala paste. Before you marinate the cauliflower, save one fourth cup of this masala to coat the potatoes and onions! These veggies will be baked along with the cauliflower later!
Then, put the whole cauliflower in the paste and gently massage the paste onto the entire cauliflower.. Make sure the masala covers the entire gobi including all the nooks and crannies. The gobi will take on those robust desi flavours of the masala, it'll be juicy and mouth-watering!
Smoking Cauliflower to get Tandoori Flavours at Home
You DO NOT need an actual Tandoor at home to get Tandoori flavours! How cool is that?! We’ve smoked the marinated gobi with hot coal for a couple of minutes. The cauliflower really takes in those smoky notes and you’ll get those distinct Tandoori flavours as promised! We've used a single piece of coal to smoke the cauliflower. Pick up the piece of coal with a pair of steel tongs and hold it over an open flame. The coal will take about 8-10 minutes to heat and will start turning red hot. Place the hot coal in a small steel bowl and use this to smoke the dish. After smoking the cauliflower, cover the coal bowl with a lid. The smoke gets trapped and this is what adds all the smokiness. You can use this simple smoking method for other recipes too!
Finally, coat potato and onion pieces with the tandoori masala that we kept aside. Bake these veggies in the oven along with the cauliflower. Baking instructions are on the recipe card. Half-way through, gently brush the cauliflower and veggies with oil. Brushing with oil gives that golden brown colour and crunchy top!
Include this Indian appetizer in your desi feast and it will proudly hold its own!
Serve it with:
More Cauliflower Recipes:
- Curried Cauliflower Bowl + Tahini Sauce
- Healthy Cauliflower Rice Broccoli Casserole
- Low Carb Asian Cauliflower Rice
- Creamy Cauliflower Chowder
- Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice
Watch Tandoori Cauliflower Recipe Video
This recipe was first published on November 20, 2015 and has been updated on 18 December, 2020 with a new video and no changes to the recipe
Easy Tandoori Whole Baked Cauliflower
- 1 Cauliflower whole head of (approx. 1000 - 1200 gms)
- 3 Onions large quartered
- 3 Potatoes quartered
- 3 tablespoons Oil
- 1 cup Hung Curds
- 2 teaspoons Chili Powder Red
- 1 teaspoon Kashmiri Chili Powder
- ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
- 2 teaspoons Coriander Powder
- 1 teaspoon Chaat Masala Powder
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- 2 tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste
- Salt to taste
- Coriander Chopped for garnishing
- Lime Juice
- Wash the cauliflower and remove the stem and leaves, while keeping the flower whole.
- Fill a large pot (big enough for the cauliflower) halfway with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water starts boiling, carefully place the cauliflower and blanch for 5 minutes. Strain and let the cauliflower cool down a bit.
- Mix together curds, a tablespoon of oil, both chili powders, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, chaat masala powder, ginger garlic paste and salt till blended.
- Once the cauliflower is cool, rub the curds mixture all over the cauliflower, potatoes and onions. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees celcius.
- Brush an oven proof skillet or roasting pan large enough to fit the cauliflower with oil.
- Place the cauliflower in the skillet along with onions and potatoes and brush with oil. Bake for 20 -25 minutes till the top is golden brown and the cauliflower is cooked through. (Half way through, brush once more with oil)
- Squeeze lime juice and sprinkle coriander leaves on top. Serve immediately.
- In case you don't have all the spices on hand, substitute the powders with 2 - 3 tablespoons store bought Tandoori Masala.
- Hang the curds for at least half an hour to drain most of the whey.
- I used a cast iron skillet to bake this cauliflower but any oven proof baking pan will do.
- You can marinate the cauliflower, place it in the baking dish and store it in the refrigerator. Place it in the oven 25 minutes before you are ready to eat.